If you read my last post, you know how I feel about Richard III and how he is remembered in history. With that said, I have to say that if you live in the Phoenix area, you can't miss the opportunity to see the Southwest Shakespeare Company's production of Richard III that is now showing in Mesa AZ, now through May 8th.
The Artistic Director, Jared Sakren, has the ability to gather great talent from not only the Valley, but outside of Arizona and this time is no different. All of the actors play their parts well.
Maren Maclean, who has been in several SSC production,s is always great to watch and I hope she is able to reprise her role of Queen Margaret in next seasons opening play "Blood Royal", which is an original adaptation of the three Henry VI plays. Dawn Tucker is beautiful and convincing as Anne Neville and Justine Hartley is fantastic as Queen Elizabeth. Hartley seems to be getting better with each of her performances this season and I hope shie will be back next season also.
The obvious highlight though, is Bo Foxworth's depiction of Richard III. He is amazing! You can't help but love him (well maybe "love" is too strong of a word but you do like Richard in the first half) and feel like you are with him in the planning of the treacheries and murders as he plots to win the crown of England. He actually seems to slither across the stage as he explains to you what he is planning, and how he will succeed in his planning. You are then shocked when he does everything he just told you he was going to do! I am always amazing when an actor can say so much through his facial expressions and Foxworth has this down perfectly!
The two young Princes
I do think some of the scenes may be too disturbing for children. I would caution you from taking anyone under the age of 12. Particularly the scene after the young princes have been murdered, and seeing them hoisted into a trunk, and the beheading of Hastings.
My personal opinion of this play is that Shakespeare wrote it, with the part of Richard becoming so much of a caricature that most people would KNOW that Richard wasn’t this bad and that no one would believe this depiction of him. Thus, Shakespeare is cleared in the eyes of us “Yorkist” but it still helped him when it came to keeping his employer (Elizabeth I, and a Lancaster) happy.
Here is a link to SSC website for more information on this play: http://www.swshakespeare.org/